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Run Prebuilt WebDriverAgentRunner

xcodebuild has commands; build-for-testing and test-without-building. build-for-testing builds a test bundle package. test-without-building is to run it. Usually XCUITest driver runs both arguments in a new session creation to build the WebDriverAgentRunner application for testing, install it to a device and run it.

For instance, XCUITest driver issues a xcodebuild command like below:

xcodebuild build-for-testing test-without-building \
  -project WebDriverAgent.xcodeproj \
  -derivedDataPath wda_build \
  -scheme WebDriverAgentRunner \
  -destination "platform=iOS Simulator,name=iPhone 14 Pro" \

Then, the xcodebuild command builds the WebDriverAgent.xcodeproj and starts the built package for testing.

The command can split for build-for-testing part and test-without-building part as below:

xcodebuild build-for-testing \
  -project WebDriverAgent.xcodeproj \
  -derivedDataPath wda_build \
  -scheme WebDriverAgentRunner \
  -destination "platform=iOS Simulator,name=iPhone 14 Pro" \
xcodebuild test-without-building \
  -xctestrun wda_build/Build/Products/WebDriverAgentRunner_iphonesimulator16.2-arm64.xctestrun \
  -destination "platform=iOS Simulator,name=iPhone 14 Pro"

In the build-for-testing part, it generates .app package and .xctestrun file as below:


The .xctestrun file name depends on the -destination preference. The file has metadata about the package.

In the test-without-building part, it starts the WebDriverAgentRunner application for testing by referencing the given .xctestrun. The file has DependentProductPaths key to manage dependencies for built by the build-for-testing for example.

After succeeding in starting the WebDriverAgentRunner application for testing, http://localhost:8100 will be accessible during the command running for iPhone 14 Pro simulator.

XCUITest driver provides useXctestrunFile and bootstrapPath capabilities to conduct the test-without-building command only. It will improve WebDriverAgentRunner application setup performance by skipping the build-for-testing.

This method can use both real devices and simulators, but the real device requires proper signing as Run Preinstalled WebDriverAgentRunner.

We would recommend to use useXctestrunFile for real devices since the above test-without-building needs to install the WebDriverAgentRunner package every session creation but the useXctestrunFile does not.

How to use appium:useXctestrunFile and appium:bootstrapPath capabilities

Based on the above case, the usage of useXctestrunFile and bootstrapPath will be:

  "platformName": "ios",
  "appium:automationName": "xcuitest",
  "appium:platformVersion": "15.5",
  "appium:deviceName": "iPhone 12",
  "appium:useXctestrunFile": "true",
  "appium:bootstrapPath": "/path/to/wda_build/Build/Products"

We haven't tested all possible combinations, but probably the target device could be anything.

The same thing could achieve with derivedDataPath and usePrebuiltWDA capabilities, but it may fail if the xcodebuild cannot find or handle the .xctestrun properly. The stability depends on Xcode.